hardcover books examples

The Different Types of Book Formats Explained

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Nicole Hill

An aspiring Golden Girl, Nicole Hill is a former journalist and forever writer whose home is equal parts pet rescue and personal library. Nicole lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and growing canine and feline brood. Please send any and all book recs and review copies to [email protected].

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You’re reading this article because you love books. I’m writing it for the same reason. But how much do you know about the books themselves? Why are they shaped the way they are ? Why are there so many different book formats? How can you fit all of these different sizes of books on your bookshelf?

For that last question, I have no answer. Though that hasn’t stopped others from trying to make sense of all of these mismatched sizes .

“It is, admittedly, all too easy to take the existence of physical books for granted,” writes Keith Houston in The Book . “The sheer weight of them that surrounds us at all times, in bookcases, libraries, and bookshops, leads to a kind of bibliographic snow blindness.”

Recent news, though, has us thinking more deeply about book formats. In March, Harlequin discreetly made some changes to its mass market paperbacks; it made them bigger, dubbing the new format “ mass market paperback max .” And in April, Kensington Publishing announced plans to switch its mass market to titles to the “mass max” size in September 2020.

What does all this mean? What’s a mass market paperback, and how’s it different from any other paperback? Why are books different sizes anyway? Let’s revisit the different types of book formats and why each exists.

Before we go any further, a note on terminology: “Trim size” is publishing industry speak for book size. After a book is bound, it’s trimmed down to one of several uniform sizes—sizes for which, in the United States, you actually have Woodrow Wilson to thank.

As Houston outlines in The Book , a wonderfully thorough history of, well, the book, standard book trim sizes are a relatively modern invention. Standardization didn’t start in the U.S. until 1921, when the Wilson administration established two committees dedicated to defining paper sizes: the Permanent Conference on Printing and the Committee on the Simplification of Paper Sizes.

That pair of granularly named committees is responsible, for example, for our standard letter sizes (8 x 10 ½ inches and 8 ½ x 11 inches). How they arrived at such a definition is telling. The dimensions, Houston writes, were (super scientifically) copied from Secretary of State Herbert Hoover’s personal letter paper.

Regardless, any time I refer to “trim size,” I’m merely referring to the actual size of the book.

What they are: Hardcovers, sometimes referred to as “trade cloth” books, are hardbound books with sewn spines. When you buy them new, they may come with removable dust jackets to protect their covers.

Where you see them: Most new releases arrive in hardback first, followed by a paperback release around a year later.

Likely, you’ll see them in your local library, too. Hardcovers—especially those with reinforced library binding—hold up better over time for multiple borrowers, particularly with popular titles, according to Leah Oswald, a reference librarian with the Austin Public Library. Books with lower expected circulation, meanwhile, often get stocked in cheaper paperback form.

Where you won’t see them: A lot of genre fiction (romance, science fiction, fantasy) dispenses with the hardcover format. Many books from indie presses likewise debut in paperback.

Why they exist: Prior to the hardcover, ancient book formats vacillated between various forms of parchment and papyrus scrolls. While these scrolls and bookrolls became increasingly durable, usability problems remained.

“It takes two hands to simultaneously unfurl a bookroll at one end and roll it up at the other,” Houston writes in The Book . “There is no way to casually prop open a scroll in one hand while sipping from a glass of wine held in the other.”

Hardcovers exist for their durability and relative convenience. Their (typically) rectangular, solid shapes behave nicely on bookshelves! And until World War II, they were really the only trim size available. (More on that in a second.)

Today, publishers still put out hardcovers first for the simple fact that they sell, as Philip Jones, editor of publishing-industry magazine The Bookseller , explained in an interview with The Guardian . Citing data from Nielsen BookScan, Jones said hardcovers compose roughly 20% of the printed fiction market.

Why? Any number of reasons. Readers may prefer hardcovers because they’re more durable than paperbacks. Bookstores may prefer them because they’re larger, more easily visible on bookshelves. Without a doubt, publishers prefer hardcovers because they’re more profitable, often selling for “twice the price of a paperback” without twice the production cost, Jones said.

And as Mental Floss notes , hardcover releases followed up by paperback releases give publishers two big marketing opportunities for any given title—double the chances that book will end up in your hands.

Trade Paperbacks

What they are: Trade books are what we consider “standard” paperbacks.

Where you see them: Trade paperbacks (usually measuring somewhere around 5 x 8 inches) are less expensive, more portable book formats. You’ll see trade paperbacks everywhere, for works of adult and children’s fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry alike.

Where you won’t see them: Most books are published in paperback (at some point), but there is the whole oversized books market, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

Why they exist: Paperbacks of any size exist because of their accessibility, affordability, and portable nature. But the mainstreaming of paperbacks in the United States is largely a product of World War II.

Penguin began publishing its cheaper, commuter-friendly paperbacks in Britain in 1935. Pocket Books followed suit in the United States in 1939 with its own lines of books stocked in accessible consumer locations like newsstands. Certainly, there was an audience, which Andrew Liptak documented for Kirkus . In a country still buffeted by the Great Depression, hardbacks were out of economic reach even for the traditional “reading classes.”

And then World War II.

Prior to the 1930s and ‘40s, the American paperback market was the dominion of pulp novels and comics. So-called serious literature was available in costly hardcover forms. But wartime America created a new audience of soldiers hungry for the comforts of home and a distraction, as The Atlantic ’s Yoni Appelbaum reports.

In a partnership between publishers and the U.S. military, cheap Armed Services Edition paperbacks were produced on magazine presses and sent to the front lines, as Cara Giaimo writes for Atlas Obscura . Available titles included popular pulp favorites like westerns but also classic and best-selling books previously published only in hardcover—all sold to the Army for just 6 cents a book .

When those soldiers returned home, there was no going back to days without a less expensive, widely available, easily held book format.

Mass Market Paperbacks

What they are: If the hardcover is the Range Rover, the trade paperback is the luxury sedan. The mass market paperback? It’s the 2006 Toyota Corolla you’ll drive until one of you dies. Designed for affordability rather than perceived elegance, mass market paperbacks are typically smaller with tighter typeset.

Where you see them: Romance novels, but also much of adult genre fiction, including science fiction and mystery. (No doubt you’ve seen the vivid fantasy covers of mass market paperbacks at your favorite used bookstore.)

Where you won’t see them: Curiously, the industry segment with a gaping mass market hole is the current YA landscape . You’d think books intended for youth audiences would be printed in the cheaper, more easily maneuverable format, no? At least, you’d think that if you’d spent as much time with mass market Christopher Pike thrillers as a teen as I did.

Why they exist: At 4 x 7 inches, they’re perfect to throw in your bag, though that convenience is also the reason why you’ll find them in used bookstores, their covers tattered from being loved too much .

Dedicated readers of genres like romance get very attached to the hand-feel of mass market paperbacks. They’re easy to hold and easy to stow. That’s why Harlequin and Kensington’s announcements about the “mass max” paperback are such big news. The mass max books will measure an expanded 4.75 x 7 inches. That may not seem like a big increase, but think about the size of your palm in comparison to ¾ of an inch.

In announcing its move, Harlequin cited positive reader feedback about the larger size (and larger fonts), paper quality, and spine design—notably, all hallmarks of a traditional (slightly more expensive) trade paperback.

Time will tell if the mass max will eclipse the smaller mass market paperback or even eat into the number of books published as trade paperbacks.

Oversized Books

What they are: Finally, we arrive at coffee table books. These massive hardcovers are most likely what you artfully stack in the living room before guests come over.

Where you see them: Typically, you’ll see oversized art books, photography collections, and cookbooks, as well as nonfiction books that otherwise rely on visuals and imagery. Occasionally, you’ll see graphic novels appear in this format for collected volumes like Saga .

Where you won’t see them: Barring unusual circumstances or unique publisher whims, you’re not going to be lugging home any oversized novels or works of narrative nonfiction.

Why they exist: Oversized books for display have been around for centuries, but David Brower, the first executive director of the Sierra Club, is commonly credited with inventing our modern coffee table book.

In Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform , author Finis Dunaway explores the reasons behind the Sierra Club’s “Exhibit Format” books, which paired nature photos from the likes of Ansel Adams with text from nature writers.

These “large, heavy books, measuring over 10 inches wide by over a foot long” were part of a coordinated campaign to lobby Congress on wildlife protection bills, Dunaway writes: “Sierra Club artists used the camera to present nature as sacred and sublime; their photographs encouraged audiences to view wilderness as a place where people are visitors who do not remain.”

They were on to something. Nature photography remains a huge subject for these oversized books, though only one of many to take advantage of this visually striking form.

So that’s it. That’s a brief look at the most common trim sizes for books. Are there other book formats? Yes, as evidenced by spiral-bound cookbooks or children’s board books. If you’re interested in learning even more about books as an entity, give these 10 Nonfiction Titles That Will Change the Way You See Books a try.

hardcover books examples

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Definition of hardcover

Examples of hardcover in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hardcover.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1939, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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“Hardcover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hardcover. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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What’s the Difference between Hardcover books and Paperback books?

You may already have asked yourself this question while making an order for your favorite book on Amazon Do I choose hardcover or paperback? Or sometimes, to make your choice even harder, the Kindle or audiobook versions are available. What are the differences between hardcover and paperback books?

As a general rule, the main difference between hardcover and paperback book are their bindings methods. A paperback book is made with a soft cover and is generally cheaper, while a hardcover book use a stiff cover, and so is more expensive.

That’s it for the main difference between both. But I’ll now give you more detail about this coverage types and explain to you how they are manufactured.

Paperback book

A book with a flexible paper binding Merriam-Webster

This definition doesn’t bring more information than what I already told you But keep in mind that paperback books are often cheap books with a soft cover in paper or glossy paper


Here are a few examples of paperback books:

hardcover books examples


Without going into manufacturing details, you have to know that all paperback books are not made the same way For marketing or cost reasons, the editor can choose to save money depending on how the book is printed

Glued square back

Most of the time, books are printed this way, it’s the cheapest method to print a book Book sheets are printed, collected and then glued to the cover

When you look a book made this way, you can see the squared form. The cover is perpendicular to its back, as the name says

Sewn square back stitches

hardcover books examples


You may also note flexibility differences between two paperback books For example, American books are generally more flexible than English books

You can find paperback in different size formats, there is no rule about this A paperback book doesn’t guarantee a specific size

The book size can also depend on the book content For example, literary novels and fictions books have different sizes

And finally you can find paperback books in many topics The paperback format isn’t limited to a specific type of book You have paperback books for fiction, school lessons, medical content, etc.

If you need a few examples of paperback books you can find on Amazon (or any other seller), here are a few ones:

  • Cheap versions of mass-market books, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Self-study books, like the “For Dummies” collection
  • Classics and mass-market books are often available in paperback versions to stay accessible for everyone, like Shakespeare books

You may also like:

  • Differences between Hardcover and Paperback
  • Differences between Average and Median
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Hardcover book

Let’s see now the other word to categorize a book: hardcover

Having rigid boards on the sides covered in cloth or paper Merriam-Webster

For a hardcover book, the backs of the notebooks are sewn together. Then they add a hard cover: the binding. The hardcover book is harder, and also more expensive.

Generally the cover is simple, mono color (white for example), and you have an additional glossy paper with the book cover For expensive books, you can have the cover directly on the hard cover ( this one is the perfect example , with a leather bound)

You can see on the pictures below a few examples of hardcover books

hardcover books examples

Like for paperback, you’ll find multiples manufacturing ways to make a hardcover book As these books are more expensive, you’ll more often find original books with hardcover

Stitched notebooks

Most of the time, hardcover books are made with stitched notebooks These are glued to the binding, or not attached at all to the back (with this method you can see a gap on the back when you open the book)

hardcover books examples

A hardcover book is generally considered as the high-end format of a book But you can find a hardcover on many books types:

  • Comics : many comics are made with hard covers
  • Cooking recipes books
  • Beautiful books : most of the time, books you can offer are made with hard cover, it looks better

Here are a few examples of hardcover books on Amazon:

  • Comic books, like Angel
  • Recipe books, like The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
  • Books with beautiful landscapes, like this one from National Geographic
  • Special or anniversary editions, like this Peter Pan

I hope you liked this post and that it helped you to understand the difference between hardcover and paperback books If you remember it on your next purchase, I’ll have done my job 🙂

Please share this post in your favorite social network if you liked it

hardcover books examples

I am very curious and I love to learn about all types of subjects. Thanks to my experience on the web, I share my discoveries with you on this site :)

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How to Self-Publish Hardcover Books with KDP

In the past, the only way to sell a self-published hardback on Amazon was to publish it via IngramSpark . Naturally, using a middleman would all but decimate an author’s royalties on any Amazon sales. But in late 2021, Kindle Direct Publishing finally launched its hardcover print-on-demand service (first via a private beta). 

With hardcover sales rising year on year, you might be keen to dip your toe into this undeniably cool book format. If that’s the case, here’s everything you need to know about preparing your book for a hardcover edition on  KDP:

1. Adjust your book file’s trim size

Sadly, you can’t just click a button and instantly convert your paperback into to a beautiful hardcover. To meet Amazon’s specifications, you’ll need to make some changes to your book’s interior and cover. Luckily, the interior part is pretty simple to prepare!

Know your trim sizes

While Amazon offers 16 trim size options for paperback books, they currently only have five available for hardcover:

  • 6.15 x 9.21”
  • 8.25 x 11” 

Conventionally, hardcover editions are larger than their paperback counterparts, so you’ll likely need to return to your word processor, formatting software, or book designer, and resize your book file accordingly.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - An image showing the difference in size between a standard paperback and hardcover

Create your print-ready file for free with the Reedsy Book Editor

If you do need to change the trim size to qualify, don’t worry! The Reedsy Book Editor can do that for free. You can export your book in a range of sizes (including the Amazon compatible 5.5 x 8.5”, and industry-standard 6 x 9”) with the click of a button. 

Reedsy’s tool will automatically fix common formatting hiccups such as widows and orphans (those awkward lone words that overhang a paragraph). Basically, it’ll take care of almost all your formatting needs! To learn more about its features, check out our post on the Reedsy Book Editor . 

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2. Check your page count, margins, and images

Another difference between Amazon’s paperback and hardcover specifications is the page count. While your paperback can be anywhere from 24 to 828 pages, your hardcover must be between 55 and 550 pages. Luckily, a larger trim size will usually bring down the page count, but if you’ve written a 1,000-page doorstop of a novel, you may be out of luck for now.

While you’re checking your page count, you may want to make some other formatting tweaks. Many authors prefer wider margins for their hardcover edition, as it gives a more premium feel. However, make sure your wider margin doesn’t push your book above the 550-page limit. Also check that any images look good when resized, and aren’t awkwardly aligned on your newly expanded page. 

Doublecheck your book files after you export them

KDP does have a tool for catching formatting errors, which we’ll mention later, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so give your manuscript a thorough review at this stage. It’s best to review the file after exporting to make sure nothing changes during the export process and everything looks perfect.

Once your interior is good to go, the next step is to prepare that all-important cover. 

3. Tweak your cover design for case laminate

Unfortunately, creating a cover for your hardcover edition is not as simple as scaling up your paperback design by 20%. For one, you may lose quality by simply scaling up the design! Here’s what you need to know about modifying your cover design for a flawless KDP hardcover.

Know the rules of creating a case laminate cover

Hardcovers come with their own unique requirements for cover designs and on KDP, these requirements are very particular. This is largely down to the only style of hardcover they offer: case laminate. 

Case laminate covers are made of chipboard, and wrapped with laminated paper. Amazon has yet to introduce the clothbound or dust jacket option you may be familiar with. As a result, certain parts of your cover design will wrap around the edges of your cover. Therefore, your design will need to extend beyond the actual cover dimensions (this is referred to in the industry as “bleeding”).

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - An image showing the bleeding around the edges of a case laminate book

You’ll also need to consider some other factors. Your spine will probably be thicker than it would be for a paperback, so you’ll need to keep a space clear of important elements alongside the spine (the “spine hinge”) to prevent text or barcode distortion.

Raúl Gil, the cover designer for Ricardo Fayet’s How To Market A Book , explained how he adapted the design from paperback to hardcover. In the image below, the hardcover version required wider “bleeding” at the edges (1), wider inner margins (2), a wider spine (3), and some design elements to be repositioned (4).

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - An image showing the differences between hardcover and paperback cover designs

The basic requirements for Amazon hardcover cover designs are:

  • Your background should extend 0.51” past the edge of the front cover;
  • All text and images should be 0.635” from the edge of the book; and
  • No text or barcodes should be within 0.4” of the spine.

Sound like a lot to remember? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that...

Use a calculator to get your dimensions just right

Amazon has a handy inbuilt calculator , which takes information about your manuscript and uses it to generate a template with the perfect dimensions for your cover design. You can then compare your design with this template to check your cover qualifies.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the Amazon KDP Hardcover dimension calculator

Note: To use this calculator, you need to know your exact page count. So make sure you finalize your interior formatting and export your book file beforehand.

Seek help from the professionals for the perfect hardcover

To ensure your cover looks as good as possible, you can always consult a book cover designer, and make the most of their professional expertise. A cover designer can help find the balance between following Amazon’s rules and maintaining your ideal aesthetic, as they’ll have an eye for composition and can skillfully make the most of the fresh “canvas” a hardcover offers.

A professional is used to working to the kind of specifications we mentioned above  — just give them your template and let them have at it!

Where can you find the best book cover designers?

They’re right here on Reedsy! Sign up today and work with them on your next book.

4. Add your new metadata to KDP

Once you’ve got your interior and cover files ready to go, it’s time to head to the KDP dashboard! You can either create an entirely new title, or add a hardcover option to a book you already have available in paperback or ebook format.

The processes for the two are similar. If you’re adding a hardcover option to an existing book, certain information fields will be automatically transferred over from your paperback or ebook editions. Don’t worry if you want to switch things up a little — you can still edit these fields if you want to set up your hardcover differently.

First time setting up a book on KDP? We highly recommend checking out our complete guide to KDP . It covers the entire set up process on KDP for a paperback or ebook, and you’ll probably want to cover those before moving on to hardcover.

Fill out the Book Details page

The next stage is very similar to the process for setting up a paperback — you’ll just need to fill in some basic information about your book:

  • Book title and subtitle
  • Series name
  • Edition number
  • Author, plus any contributors
  • Description
  • Publishing rights
  • Keywords and categories

As mentioned, these may be auto-filled if you’re adding a hardcover option to a pre-existing book, but you can still edit these if anything is different. 

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the Hardcover details page

Upload your shiny new hardcover files

Next, you’ll want to head to the Hardcover Content page, where you’ll upload your new book cover and interior files. Once you’ve uploaded your print-ready file, you’ll want to hit “Launch Previewer”, and look over your final manuscript.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the cover upload screen

The previewer automatically catches any formatting errors which could lead to printing issues so that you can correct them before finalizing your hardcover.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the KDP Quality check tool

5. Assign an ISBN to your hardcover

The Hardcover Content page is also where you’ll create an ISBN for your book or apply an ISBN you’ve purchased elsewhere. You need a separate ISBN for every edition of your book, so you can’t reuse the numbers attached to your ebook or paperback versions if they already exist. Amazon will provide you with a free ISBN, but if you’ve bought your own ISBN from a vendor like Bowker, you can also add that here. 

Should you use Amazon's free ISBN?

It’s important to note that Amazon’s free ISBN’s can’t be used outside Amazon’s marketplace. As Amazon doesn’t offer wide distribution for hardcovers so far (meaning you can only sell KDP produced hardbacks on their own website), this isn’t an issue yet. If the option is made available in the future, you may want to purchase a separate ISBN to sell your KDP hardcover elsewhere. You can learn more about Amazon ISBN's here, under " A note on ASINS ".

6. Choose your print options

Next, you’ll get to choose between options for paper, select some fine-tuned settings for printing, and finalize your trim sizes and page counts so Amazon knows exactly what they’re working with.

To gloss or not?

As we mentioned earlier, the only option currently available on KDP for hardcover is a case laminate. You’ll get the option at this stage to choose between two finishes, glossy and matte.

Word on the street is that the gloss option is very, well, glossy . A lot of authors are favoring the matte option, citing that it looks more professional. So if you want to avoid too much glare on your cover, we suggest going matte too.

Picking your color settings and paper

You have fewer interior print options than you do with paperback. At this time, hardcover authors on KDP are limited to: 

  • black and white on cream; 
  • black and white on white; or 
  • premium color on white.

There’s no “standard” color option like there is with paperback, so you’re left only with the pricier premium option if you do wish to have color interiors.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the print options screen

7. Price your hardcover and set it live!

You’re on the home stretch! Next, you’ll find yourself on the Pricing & Rights page, where you can select the territories you’re selling in. You’ll also need to choose your marketplace. Still, this part is pretty straightforward: as we mentioned earlier, there’s no expanded distribution for hardcover yet, so you’ll just be selling through regional versions of Amazon.

This is also the time to set your price. As with paperback, Amazon will suggest a minimum price that will still allow you to make a profit.

Self-Publishing Hardcover Books with Kindle Direct Publishing - screenshot of the pricing options

Hit publish!

Once you’ve uploaded your content and set a price, you should be ready to go. There’ll be a brief delay while Amazon makes sure that all the information you’ve inputted meets their requirements. But, if you’ve done everything right, you can take some hard-earned time off to celebrate — your hardcover should be available within 72 hours!

Of course, setting your book live is only the latest step in your publishing journey  — next, you’ll need to market it. For all the tricks of the trade, download a free digital copy of Ricardo Fayet's How to Market a Book .

Continue reading

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Home » Planning & Creating » Types of book covers: hardcover versus softcover

hardcover books examples

The benefits

It’s a popular, versatile, and economical way to print photo books and trade books . If you’re printing a trade book, the softcover option gives you the lowest cost per copy. Softcover books are also lightweight, accessible, and portable, making them perfect for the everyday commuter, long-distance traveler, and bedtime reader. Many authors and publishers choose softcover designs for novels, poetry, memoirs, short stories or essays, travel guides, comics , graphic novels, literary journals, how-to guides, and art and business catalogs. The list goes on!

The limitations

The softcover design is fairly simple—no cover flaps or end sheets*. (If you’re making a magazine, you can print on the inside front and back covers, as well as on the outside front and back covers.) Softcover is also not available for Blurb’s large-format photo books or layflat books. No surprise here: With heavy use, softcover books are more susceptible to visible wear and tear than hardcover.

Hardcover  with ImageWrap

Our ImageWrap hardcover books feature a durable matte finish and library binding, as well as end sheets*. Your cover image will be printed directly on the front and back cover and spine. You also get a choice of end sheet colors, depending on your book format (two color options for trade books, five color options for perfect-bound photo books).

Type of book cover: Hardcover with ImageWrap

It’s a sturdy, stand-alone book design that looks great on display and stands up to heavy use. For the higher printing cost, you get lasting durability (think: children’s books, cookbooks) and more of a high-end feel (perfect for keepsake albums or photography, art, and design books).

What you see is what you get—as in, no cover flaps. If you’re making a layflat photo book , ImageWrap is the only cover type available. Hardcover books are heftier and can be a bit trickier to transport (unless they’re slim). But being heavy is ok for books that tend to stay at home (reference guides, cookbooks, yearbooks, coffee table books).

*What are end sheets? How can they be used?

End sheets are the pieces of paper glued to the inside of your hardcover book, lining the front and back cover. Text and designs cannot be printed here. If you plan to order more than 100 copies of your book, we offer custom book options which may include printing on the inside of your cover.

Hardcover with dust jacket  

This type of book cover features a full-color, glossy dust jacket with flaps that wrap around your linen hardcover book (slate-grey linen for trade books and a choice of black, oatmeal, or charcoal linen for photo books.) Images and text can be printed on the front, back, and spine of the dust jacket. As with ImageWrap hardcovers, you get a choice of end sheet* colors (two color options for trade books, five color options for perfect-bound photo books).

Type of book cover: Hardcover with Dust Jacket

If you’re going for a luxurious look and feel, dust jacket flaps over classic linen book covers adds instant prestige. Some authors choose this traditional design for novels, essays, or cookbooks, while others may reserve it for high-profile art and photography books, keepsake projects, or limited editions. Publishing houses often release first-edition fiction, nonfiction, and some poetry books in hardcover with dust jackets (followed by a softcover edition six months to a year later).

There is no option to emboss or print on the linen book covers underneath the dust jacket, but your local bindery or print shop might be able to do this for you. The hardcover weight combined with a removable dust jacket can make this design more suited to books that are not subject to constant, rugged use (a dust jacket on a kid’s book is bound to go its separate way).

Then again, books are made to be loved, handled, shared, and treasured, so there are no set rules about which type of book cover to use for any genre or style of project. That’s for you to decide. To each book, its own unique and beautiful cover!

For more inspiration, check out these tips for creating a standout book cover . Ready to explore size and paper options? Start your book project today!

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a book bound in cloth, leather, or the like, over stiff material: Hardcovers are more durable than paperbacks.

bound in cloth, leather, or the like, over stiff material: a hardcover series.

noting or pertaining to hardcover books: hardcover sales.

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Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

Origin of hardcover

  • Also hardback .

Other words from hardcover

  • hardcovered, adjective
  • Compare paperback .

Words Nearby hardcover

  • hard-coated
  • hard credit inquiry
  • hard currency
  • hard dinkum

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hardcover in a sentence

Gaetz reported that his publishing contract awarded him 60 percent royalties—a share normally reserved for online distributor sales of self-published work, and more than double the typical hardcover royalty rates.

For this method, you’ll need a heavy hardcover book, such as a dictionary or coffee-table tome, a few sheets of paper or waxed paper, and a pair of scissors.

This method of binding is quite durable and is often used with hardcover notebooks.

An attractive hardcover on the outside and plenty of organizational choices on the inside will last a whole school year.

If you’re the kind of teacher who takes your planner home every night, you might want to consider a hardcover for increased durability.

Knopf has sold more than 400,000 copies, and the book has never been out of print in hardcover or paperback.

He wrote a few more paperback originals, two of them westerns, then sold The Moonshine War to Doubleday in hardcover .

If a myth is built around an author, her most intimate thoughts become worthy of a hardcover .

The e-book, paperback, and hardcover were merged, for young adult and middle grade.

Didion will soon publish her book in hardcover and has already benefited from his review.

This electronic edition is derived from a later hardcover reprint.

Solo girls with hardcover sketch books and vintage clothes home-tailored to a nice fit.

A list of all obtainable addresses of the publishers of hardcover books mentioned in the Checklist.

This book is available in both a hardcover and paperback edition.

Cambridge Dictionary

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hardcover book

Meanings of hardcover and book.

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(Definition of hardcover and book from the Cambridge English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

  • Examples of hardcover book


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a form of a language that people speak in a particular part of a country, containing some different words and grammar, etc.

Scarce, scant and sparse (Ways of saying ‘not enough’)

Scarce, scant and sparse (Ways of saying ‘not enough’)

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Ebook Launch

Dust Jackets for Books – An Author’s Guide (plus 10 Examples)

If you’re a self-publishing author, you know that there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to creating a professional-looking book. One important element that is often overlooked is the dust jacket – the protective cover that goes on the outside of your book. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what dust jackets for books are, why they’re important, what to include when creating them, and how you can get one for your book.

Specifically, in this post you’ll learn about:

Table of contents

What is a dust jacket, front cover, front flap/back cover/back flap, custom dust jackets – examples with different layouts, popular printing platforms for self-publishers:, professional options, related posts.

Okay, let’s dive in!

A dust jacket (sometimes book jacket , dust wrapper or dust cover ) is a protective cover that is placed on the outside of a hardcover book. It is typically made of paper and has the title, author, and other information about the book printed on it. The purpose of dust jackets for books is to protect them from damage, such as scratches, scuffs, and tears, and to provide information about its contents to potential readers.

In contrast, a case-laminate hardcover is a hardcover book that has a glossy, laminated cover that is more durable and resistant to damage than a traditional dust jacket. A paperback book, on the other hand, does not have a protective cover at all and is bound with soft covers that are not as durable as a hardcover book.

To read a more detailed post about the different printing options available to self-published authors, be sure to check out our post about hardcover vs paperback options. 

A well-made, custom dust jacket can help your book look professional and polished. In addition, a dust jacket can help to differentiate your book from other self-published books on the market, which is especially important if you’re trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Now let’s break down each section of a dust jacket and what to include. Stay with us! 

Anatomy of a Dust Jacket

hardcover books examples

In addition to the front cover, spine and back cover that paperbacks and case laminate hardcovers have, dust jackets also have two flaps that wrap around the front and the back of the book (noted as “front flap” and “back flap” in the image above).

The specific design and content elements that are included in each of these sections will vary depending on the book and the preferences of the publisher or author.

Below, we suggest what to include in each section:

The front cover is the same book cover design as the ebook, paperback and hard cover. We have more detailed posts about what makes a good book cover, but here are the basic elements that are included:

  • The book’s title and author: The title and author are often prominently displayed on the front cover of the dust jacket. 
  • Awards or accolades: If the book has won any awards or has received notable recognition, this information may be included on the book’s jacket.

The elements included on the front cover are usually pretty fixed (e.g. the title, author name and design); whereas, when it comes to dust jackets for books, authors and publishers have more flexibility about what elements to include and where. Below is a list of the more common elements:

  • Endorsements or reviews: The front cover of a dust jacket may also include endorsements or reviews from other authors, critics, or readers, which can help to build buzz and interest in the book.
  • Additional details about the author: The dust jacket may include additional information about the author, such as a brief author biography, a list of their other works, a photograph and links to their social media accounts/website.
  • ISBN, book publisher logo and publication date: The publisher and publication date are typically included on the back cover of the book’s dust jacket, along with the ISBN and any other relevant information about the book’s edition or printing.
  • A Blurb of the book’s contents: The dust jacket often includes a brief summary or description of the book’s contents, which is designed to give potential readers an idea of what the book is about and what they can expect to find inside.
  • Additional Graphics: Some authors like to keep it clean with the design and keep the flaps blank or include additional graphics relevant to the overall design of the cover. 

In general, the purpose of a dust jacket is to provide information about the book and to entice potential readers to purchase it. The specific elements that are included on a dust jacket will vary depending on the book and the preferences of the publisher or author, but the above items are commonly found on dust jackets.

Next, let’s look at some examples that we’ve designed!

Dust jacket for books - an example layout

One Last Secret – Krissy Baccaro – This dust jacket layout is one of the more common. The front flap has been used to showcase reviews, the back flap to provide more information about the author and an author image, and finally the back cover the ISBN has a compelling blurb to hook potential readers.

Dust jacket for books - an example layout for a series of 3 books

The Blemished – Sarah Dalton – These examples here show the consistency of layout across a trilogy of books. Sarah used the front flap to feature favourable reviews, the back flap to provide her author bio and the back cover to feature the book’s blurb as well as a review. It can be tempting to include as much information as possible on a dust jacket, however, this layout provides enough space to let the different elements shine.

hardcover books examples

Ignite – Jenna Terese – In this example, the author has the blurb on the front flap and has featured the reviews prominently on the back cover. She has also included the publishing logo on the spine and back flap under her author bio and photo. If you have a pile of great reviews, this is a good way to show them off!

hardcover books examples

These Hollow Shores – A.P. Walston – For the additional flaps, this author has chosen to continue on the visual design elements in lieu of more information about the book in the front flap. Including visual elements of the design in the flaps provides aesthetically appealing custom dust jacket.

hardcover books examples

A Storm of Silver and Ash – Marion Blackwood Just because it is there, doesn’t mean it has to be used! This design continues on some visual elements of the front and back cover design into the front and back flaps. This decision focuses all of the reader’s attention on the blurb itself instead of other information that could be potentially distracting. If you have spent a lot of energy crafting the perfect book blurb, this could be an approach to consider!

hardcover books examples

Resistor – C.E. Clayton – This is a unique approach to make use of the back cover to feature another prominent character in the story. The front flap features the blurb, while the back features the author bio, photo, website and publishing logo. The author also features an award on the front cover. This design decision is sure to grab attention as both covers are used to feature strong illustrations.

hardcover books examples

Leaning Out – Monica E. Pierce – In this example, we see no wasted available space. The front flap has more about the author and bio as well as her email and publisher logo. The back flap has a note from the author. This is a nice touch as the author knows exactly who her audience is and can speak directly to them. The back cover has the book’s blurb, reviews, website, logo and ISBN. This is a great example of how much information can be put on a custom dust jacket design. If you have a lot of information that you can cater directly to your target audience, this could be a good approach.

hardcover books examples

Is There Still Room In Your Life For Me? – Will Manwill – With this approach the author opted to keep a lot of breathing space around the text elements that he did include which works really well for making the text stand out and not overwhelm. A few graphical elements from the front cover are used on the back cover and back flap to tie everything together.

Each of the dust jackets above were created by our team here at Ebook Launch. If you’re wanting help with designing your book cover and dust jacket, check out our book cover design package, and get in touch if you like what you see!

Now that we’ve discussed different layout examples, let’s talk about where you can print dust jackets for books… 

There are many self-publishing printing platforms that offer a dust jacket option for hardcover books. Some popular options include:

  • IngramSpark : IngramSpark is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to print and distribute their books globally, and offers a dust jacket option for hardcover books. IngramSpark is Ebook Launch’s platform recommendation for authors who are interested in a producing a dust jacket.
  • Blurb : Blurb is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to create and print high-quality books, and offers a dust jacket option for hardcover books. 
  • BookBaby : BookBaby is a self-publishing platform that offers a range of print and distribution options for authors, and includes a dust jacket option for hardcover books.
  • Lulu : Lulu is a self-publishing platform that offers a range of print and distribution options for authors, and includes a dust jacket option for hardcover books. Note: You should be aware of royalties compared to other platforms before making your choice. 

Note : You might be wondering, “where is Amazon KDP”? That’s a good question. At the time of this writing, Amazon KDP does not offer a dust jacket option. They only offers paperback and case-laminate hardcovers for their printing options. This has been rumoured to change and we’ll update if/when it does. 

These are just a few examples of self-publishing printing platforms that offer a dust jacket option for hardcover books. There are many other platforms available, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. It is always a good idea to research and compare different platforms to find the one that best meets your needs and budget.

Preparing a Custom Dust Jacket for Your Self-Published Book: DIY vs. Professional Options

  • The first step is to create your book cover design for the front of your book. 
  • Once that is complete, you will need to decide on which platform you would like to print and distribute your book with (some popular options are listed in the previous section of this post). 
  • Finally, you will need to source that platform’s file creation guide and follow their instructions.  For example, here is Ingram Spark’s file creation guide . You may be able to use an online design application like Canva or Photopea ; however, at Ebook Launch we use the Adobe Creative Suite of applications for our cover design and preparation of print files. 
  • While it’s certainly possible to create and print a dust jacket for your self-published book on your own, there are many benefits to investing in a professional cover design company to design and prepare your files for print:
  • Overall quality of design – One of the biggest benefits is that a professional designer has the experience and skill to create a visually appealing and eye-catching cover that will help your book stand out from the competition.
  • No errors when uploading file – a professional designer can help to ensure that your book cover meets industry standards and is optimized for printing and distribution. This can help to avoid costly mistakes or delays, and can ensure that your book is printed to the highest quality standards. 
  • Expert advice & peace of mind – A competent designer can provide feedback and advice on the best printing options for your specific book.
  • If you’re considering hiring a professional to design and prepare your dust jacket, we offer all of our author’s who use our book cover services the option to create one. Here’s an overview of our dust jacket design services . If you have any questions, you can contact us . 

In conclusion, dust jackets are an important element of a professional-looking book. They protect the book, and when designed well, they can help to make the book stand out from the competition. When creating a dust jacket, it’s important to include key information and design it to reflect the tone of the book. For self-publishing authors, there are options for creating and printing a dust jacket on your own, or hiring a professional design company to do it for you.

Now it’s your turn! What do you think? Did we miss anything? Will you be offer a dust jacket option for your self-published book?

  • Back Cover of a Book: How to Convert Browsing into Buying
  • Crafting the Perfect Book Spine for Self-Published Authors
  • Hardcover vs Paperback: All You Need to Know
  • How to Write a Better Book Blurb (Definitions and Examples)
  • Book Cover Design service

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Magna Large Print Publisher - 112 works / 105 ebooks

Darkness Comes by Dean Koontz

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Master Of The Titanic (Magna Large Print General Series) Hardcover – Large Print, February 1, 1997

  • Hardcover $9.14 3 Used from $9.14
  • Print length 574 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Magna Large Print Books
  • Publication date February 1, 1997
  • Dimensions 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • ISBN-10 0750510676
  • ISBN-13 978-0750510677
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Magna Large Print Books; Large Print edition (February 1, 1997)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 574 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0750510676
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0750510677
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.6 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches

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magna large print books

Creating a literary lifeline for those in need

Ulverscroft was founded in 1964 with one aim: to bring back the joy of reading to those who had thought it was no longer possible.

Respecting our heritage, embracing the future

Since developing the world’s first large print book in 1964, our mission has been to keep people reading.

Through our industry-leading large print, our world-class audiobooks and innovative digital platform we’ve made it easier than ever for you to get lost in a book for longer.

Fred Thorpe in 1934

Unrivalled reputation, outstanding content

Whether it’s published or distributed, large print or digital, Ulverscroft have always provided readers with the biggest names.

As the world leader in alternative format publishing, our series of imprints combine the biggest names with future stars to ensure that we are always able to provide our customers with what they want.

Fred Thorpe in 1934

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The Magna Carta (which is Latin for Great Paper, or Great Charter) was so important because it effectively forced the reigning monarch to grant his English subjects rights. It laid the foundations for Parliament and constitutional governmen...

The purpose of the Magna Carta was to guarantee land owners and English gentry that they would not be unfairly taxed. The complaints that lead to the Magna Carta were not dissimilar from those that prompted the American Revolution.

King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in June of 1215 by the Barons, who had taken over London and nearly captured the king at Windsor in retaliation for the heavy taxes imposed on them.

Magna Large Print Books. 162 likes. We publish large print fiction books and produce audio CDs, MP3s and Downloads.

Magna Large Print Publisher - 112 works / 105 ebooks Published between 1948 & 2023. · Darkness Comes by Dean Koontz · Tildy by Sara Fraser · The price of glory by

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Amazon.com: Master Of The Titanic (Magna Large Print General Series): 9780750510677: Lacey, Pat: Books.

Magna Large Print. @magnabooks. We are a leading publisher of large print and unabridged audio in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Since developing the world's first large print book in 1964, our mission has been to keep people reading. Through our industry-leading large print

Find Magna Large Print in Skipton, BD23. Get contact details, videos, photos, opening times and map directions. Search for local Publishers near you on

Thorndike Press publishes large print books for youth and adults in best-selling genres like romance and mystery as well as non-fiction. Click to read.

Magna Large Print Books in Skipton, reviews by real people. Yelp is a fun and easy way to find, recommend and talk about what's great and not so great in

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